The Role Of The Royal Family’s Mrs. Oktoberfest

Mrs. Oktoberfest is the pillar of our community and to our hearts. The role of Mrs. Oktoberfest was first established in 1968 to complement Oktoberfest’s new “Family Fest” image. Jim Garvalia, President of the Board of Directors was asked by his wife Maxine, “How can you call it a “Family Fest” if there is no Mrs. Oktoberfest?” That question led to the addition of the new role to Oktoberfest’s Royal Family.

Pictured above is the very first Mrs. Oktoberfest, Joyce Lindseth passing off the jeweled Mrs. tiara to her successor, Leisel Peterslie in 1969. 

Pictured above is a past Mrs. Oktoberfest float in the 1975 Maple Leaf Parade.

The requirements for a nominee should be a person who is:

  • Actively involved in the La Crosse Community
  • Married
  • At least 50 years old
  • Living within 20 miles of La Crosse
  • Able to devote her time to numerous Oktoberfest activities throughout the upcoming year
  • A La Crosse and Oktoberfest enthusiast
  • Aware that you are nominating them to be Mrs. Oktoberfest

Prior to 1974, a tea was always set up to meet all the nominees and inform them of their duties and responsibilities of the role. Publicity photos were taken and interviews were conducted of all nominees by a panel of judges. Later, all would appear on stage at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium where a Mrs. Congenality, first runner-up, and the new Mrs. Oktoberfest were introduced.

Pictured above attending the Mrs. Oktoberfest luncheon in 1972 from left, Ruth Ellen Bryham, Inez DePaolo, Anna Mae Kenyon, Irene Lynch, Mrs. Oktoberfest 1971 Betty Stoll, Bernice Delius, Alice Jean Herold, and Janet Jansky. The photo appeared in the La Crosse Tribune, October 3, 1972.

Pictured above is Mrs. Oktoberfest 1971 riding with other nominees of the competition. 

The process for selecting the new Mrs. Oktoberfest has since changed to provide the community with a greater role in providing nominations. The nomination form can be found on our Oktoberfest website for Mrs. Oktoberfest and must be submitted by April 1st. Nominees are sent to all of Mrs. Oktoberfests and then narrowed down to a ballot of 5 nominees to be voted on again by all of the Mrs. Oktoberfests. The final votes are counted and the results will only be known by the two mentoring Mrs. Oktoberfests in a private meeting. The two mentors are:

  1. Chair: the person who served as the Mrs. Oktoberfest three years prior to the one to be selected;
  2. Second mentor: the person who served as the Mrs. Oktoberfest two years prior to the one selected

The mentors carry out the process of orientating the new Mrs. Oktoberfest and their husband about their roles as Fest royalty. The new Mrs. Oktoberfest is announced the week of Fest at the Mrs. Oktoberfest reception held at the UW-Lacrosse Student Union.


Photos above taken from 2019’s reception introducing the new Mrs. Oktoberfest, Darryle Clott (Husband aka Mr. O – Marv). 

Since a Festmaster’s wife is called ” Frau,” it became apparent that Mrs. Oktoberfest’s husband should also have a title. He became known as “Mr. O.” Every woman cherishes being selected for this community honor and the close circle of friends made within the group.

Photo above was taken prior to the Mrs. Oktoberfest reception Wednesday, September 28, 2009. See the full list of past Mrs. Oktoberfests here and to get to know our 2019 Mrs. Oktoberfest.